Call it automotive reincarnation.
What do you do with a luxury sedan that arguably has one of the sexiest designs in years, but also has a hybrid system that ended up being its worst enemy? You keep the best and ditch the worst. That’s exactly what ex-GM product czar Bob Lutz is doing with the Fisker Karma. His latest venture is VL Automotive, and the 81-year-old Lutz isn’t about to let the Karma’s styling go to waste. You may remember his VL Destino, a rebadged Karma that premiered at Detroit in 2013.
In place of a plug-in hybrid system, VL dropped in GM’s supercharged LS9 V8, which makes 638 horsepower. Yes, that's the Corvette ZR1 engine. So far, VL has bought 25 Karmas and is looking to buy more from now closed Fisker dealers. In fact, some dealers are eager to sell those Karmas because VL pays commissions for the sales. Lutz’s partner, Gilbert Villarreal, estimates that "there are 300 new Karmas still sitting unsold in dealer lots." About 1,800 Karmas were sold and Villarreal added that "we’re finding a huge interest among owners in having their cars converted to our V8 engine. We think we’ll end up converting about 1,000 of those." The Destino will cost around $195,000.